To help you keep a handle on what you are responsible for, a group of committed IPA members and staff created The Principal’s Calendar (available for IPA Members). The calendar is broken down by month. At the end of every month we will be sharing out the reflection you should be considering for the upcoming month. The reflections will center around attributes outlined in the School Leader Paradigm. The Principal's Calendar is sponsored by Stifel.
This month's featured attribute is:
Diagnostic: Is adept at diagnosing educational problems, counseling teachers, supervising, evaluating programs and personnel, and developing curriculum.
Teaching and Learning: Develops and support intellectually rigorous and coherent systems of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.
Systems Intelligence: Individual understanding of the inter-workings and leadership of complex systems within an organization.
For Your Reflection
Much like in the field of medicine, it is important for educational leaders to be able to evaluate criteria and data in an effort determine the health of their organization. School leaders have a seemingly endless supply of data available to them, but if the data is not studied, shared, and used for goal setting, it is irrelevant. In his book, The Learning Leader, Doug Reeves (2006) refers to what he considers the most effective data analysis technique – the treasure hunt. This technique encourages the user to look for their most effective practices and work to replicate those in other areas of their organization rather than focusing on the negative (“what have we done wrong?”). Not only can leaders look at their own practices, but they should consider focusing on effective practices of high performing schools throughout their region, state, and country.
In their book, Accountability for Results, Sandra Watkins and Donna McCaw (2008, p. 11) list a variety of data sets that school leaders may wish to consider collecting and or aggregating/disaggregating. It’s important to analyze this data over a continuum of time to determine trends that need to be addressed.
Consider taking stock of where you are as a school community. Compare your progress against research-based resources like The Standards for Professional Practice. The standards focus on the areas of (1) learning communities, (2) resources, (3) learning designs, (4) outcomes, (5) leadership, (6) data, and (7) implementation. These standards help define and drive the connection between professional learning, effective school organizations, and improved academic outcomes.
Resources that are readily available to educational leaders include:
To Keep You Thinking
Now is a great time to think about how you will consider data for the next school year. Reflective questions may include:
- Am I supporting a practice of differentiated professional development for my staff based on their individual wants and needs?
- What data do we collect and review?
- Do I have a data team?
- Do I have a data room (virtual or physical)? See “Making Student Data Part of the Conversation”
- Do I model my expectations for my staff by using vocabulary that references accepted practices in teacher performance, curriculum and instruction, and data analysis?
- Do teachers take ownership of their data?
- Do students help set goals and analyze the results?
- Do I provide time during the year for teams to study data?
- Do I communicate data in a meaningful and understandable way to my staff and building stakeholders?
- Have I considered having a team of teacher leaders present positive data about our school’s programs, goals, and practices at the school, district, and/or Board of Education level?
- Do we celebrate our success and growth along the way?
- Are my goals printed and visible in my office?
- Are the school’s goals printed and visible for the staff?
Books for professional growth:
- The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact (Michael Fullan, 2014).
- Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools (Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, 2012).
- The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader? (Steven Anderson, 2014).